Photo cards are a wonderful way to personalize your holiday cards! Whether you visit a professional studio (or have a photograher come to your office), or you decide to showcase your own amateur photography skills, a holiday photo is a welcome addition to often generic holiday greetings. If you choose to take the photo for your cards yourself though, it’s worth keeping in mind a few tips and guidelines, so your holiday well-wishes don’t become a holiday disaster!
- If you can, plan your photo in advance. Everyone in the photo (whether they’re your children or your board of directors) can plan to wear a nice outfit for photo day, and you can prepare a spot for taking the photo with a good backdrop (find a clean wall, or hang a sheet or blanket over a room divider) and decent lighting. This is the ideal solution, and would eliminate most — if not all — of the hazards in the rest of the list!
- Pay attention to your background! Tales of photos with accidental reflections or stray objects, people and pets in the background abound. If you want to take a photo of the lovely wreath in the office foyer, make sure the janitor isn’t walking past the scene when you click the shutter. If you’re taking a photo at home, watch out for reflective surfaces like mirrors in the photo. (If there are reflective surfaces around, do put some clothes on! One unfortunate woman saw her 3 year old doing something cute in the bathroom and took a picture of it. She put the picture on her Christmas cards and learned after she sent them out to 100 of her closest friends and family that one could clearly see her naked body in the mirror behind her son … and no, I’m not making that up!).
- Watch your lighting! A photo taken with a bright light behind the subject will cause the subject to be dark or completely blacked out. If some people in your photo have glasses, bright direct lights may turn their lenses into blinding reflectors. If the light isn’t bright enough, the photo may turn out blurry. If you’re using a camera flash, use your camera’s red-eye reduction setting so you don’t send out photos that look like “business of the damned.”
- Get permission from your “models”! This is essential in a business setting. Make sure everyone in the photo knows it is going to be mailed out, and not just framed and hung in the office reception area.
With a little common sense and attentiveness, your photo cards can turn a boring holiday greeting into a keepsake! Without it, your holiday photos could end up featured on the internet in the next popular “photo bloopers” chain email … which is definitely not the kind of publicity you want.